Three winners at Contender Series season 4: Week 1 earned UFC contracts after impressive showings.
Jordan Leavitt, Uros Medic and Dustin Jacoby are headed to the UFC, promotion president Dana White confirmed after the kickoff of the feeder league’s fourth season. Jacoby, a two-time UFC vet, squeaked his way in after dominating Ty Flores early and running out of steam in deep water.
Jacoby looked like a million bucks in his first octagon bout in eight years. He didn’t count on the toughness of Flores. Still, he battered his opponent for the bulk of two rounds, creating a lead that couldn’t be overcome. Judges handed him a unanimous decision via scores of 30-26, 29-27 and 29-27.
Jacoby, whose two UFC bouts ended in losses, got busy early with kicks and a fast flying knee. Flores tried to scoop a kick and take the fight down, but Jacoby was able to stay on his feet and look for more shots upstairs.
After taking a flurry of heavy shots, Flores changed levels for a takedown. Jacoby set up for a submission, denying that attempt, and continued to punish his opponent on the feet. Another takedown attempt was met with hard shots that left Flores’ face swollen.
Flores listened to his coaches and tried to crowd Jacoby before trying a takedown. But Jacoby still found a way to stay upright and land more punishing shots – and a standing kimura – that ensured a standup fight. As the second frame progressed, Flores began to show the effects of so much damage.
Just as Flores got some distance after the midway pont of the round, Jacoby landed a right hand that sent Flores’ mouthpiece flying, covered in blood. It might have been the end right there, but Flores toughed it out and landed a brutal knee as Jacoby attempted a takedown, visibly tired.
Flores put up a good fight in the final frame, taking advantage of Jacoby’s flagging energy to land more punches and knees in close. Cut above his left brow, Jacoby gave up a takedown with just over one minute. But by then, both fighters were too exhausted to do much with their positions. The final bell came as a respite after 15 minutes of action.
In the co-headliner, Uros Medic left White gobsmacked with a quick beatdown. An early kicking battle saw Medic and Gonzalez land several flashy shots. But it was a left hook that produced the first telling blow for Medic, who followed up with a body kick that dropped Gonzalez and produced a close call.
It wasn’t long before Medic landed another left hand and dropped Gonzalez, who covered up for dear life for the second time until the referee called it off less than three minutes into the fight.
Check out Contender Series season 4: Week 1 results below.
Main card (ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET)
Dustin Jacoby def. Ty Flores via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27)
Uros Medic def. Mikey Gonzalez via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 2:12
Jerome Rivera def. Luis Rodriguez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Jordan Leavitt def. Jose Flores via submission (arm-triangle choke) - Round 1, 4:15